Happy Wednesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for June 2, 2010 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
* LeBron James tells Larry King that Cleveland has the edge to sign him. The interview will air Friday.
* Roger Federer is ousted in the quarterfinals of the French Open by Sweden's Robin Soderling. It's the first time in 6 years a Grand Slam semifinal will be played without Federer.
* The Stanley Cup Final (Final or Finals? See #4) shifts to Philly tonight for game 3, with Chicago leading 2 games to none.
* 69-year old Anthony Gaskell finished April's London Marathon in 3 hours, 5 minutes, the fastest ever for the over-65 age group. Turns out he took a 10-mile shortcut. Never mind.
2. Another Fine Mess, Ollie
In the early years of baseball's free agent struggle, I often found myself on the side of the players. After all, the players were basically bound to one team for life. If Mickey Mantle had a bad year, he was offered a pay cut. And he was even willing to accept it, if it wasn't too big. Fast forward to now, when Mets pitcher Oliver Perez, who is killing his team (not to mention the fans), refuses to go to the minor leagues to work out his problems. Yes the inmates run the asylum, and it makes you think the pendulum has swung way too far toward the players.
3. The Numbers Game
There's an age old baseball saying that "pitching is 90% of the game." People used to get turned on by offense, but look at this season. Two perfect games. Colorado pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez is a ridiculous 10-1 with a minuscule earned run average of 0.78. And perhaps the biggest excitement comes next week when Washington phenom Stephen Strasburg makes his major league debut. Why all the hoo-hah over pitching? Have steroids taking the bloom off the power rose? And is that pitching percentage really true? I always thought Yogi had it right. "Baseball is 90% mental. The other half is physical."
4. Investigative Reporting
You wouldn't know it at times, but we strive for accuracy on the Top 5. Toward that end, I submit this story from Top 5 subscriber and WCBS sports reporter Jared Max. He noticed that written on the ice for the Blackhawks and Flyers is "Stanley Cup Final." Singular. Who knew? Always thought it was the Stanley Cup Finals, much like the NBA Finals. Plural. Jared did a little digging. Apparently it was changed a few years ago, but the NHL hasn't told him a reason. By the way, during the Olympics, it's the Opening Ceremony and the Closing Ceremony. Singular. But mentioned together, they're the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Just thought you'd like to know.
5. Clothing Optional
Germany's first ever national strip poker tournament was such a success that they want to take it international. Here's a direct quote from the story. "Spectators found it a lot more interesting than regular poker."
Wow, I never saw that coming.
Happy Birthday: He had lots to do with the Yankees dynasty of the 90's, former player and current Yankees good guy exec Gene Michael 72.
Bonus Birthday: The Beaver, Jerry Mathers. 62.
Today in Sports: Lets play three. The Pirates win a tripleheader against Brooklyn. 1903.
Bonus Event: Mark Twain wrote that the report of his death was an exaggeration. 1897.